The portion of the reading that stood out to me the most was the section “Why We Don’t Get Care”. This personally struck a cord with me because it made me reflect on my own health issues. I’ve experienced minor heart palpitations over the past six months, but brushed them off contributing them to stress and with the hope that my health would gradually improve. I feel this example speaks volumes for our attitude towards our well-being, either thinking symptoms are only temporary or being in general denial that there is anything wrong with our bodies. Recently my symptoms began to occur more frequently, to the point that I could no longer ignore the issues associated with my heart. I made a visit to the doctor and she informed me that my use of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol may have caused significant damage to the tissue of my heart.
Denial about our own health can be a serious issue. It can result in us not receiving the treatment we need, and in some cases allow for the problem to grow into something more crucial than if addressed at an earlier date. There are many reasons people turn to denial as a coping method. The first is that we don’t want our health issues to interfere with our personal life, or that we simple “don’t have time” to be unhealthy. Such as the older man in the reading that decided to attend his son’s wedding regardless of the health risks involved with traveling. The second reason is that we hope our condition will improve over time. This method can be beneficial in the case that sometimes we overreact to slightest indication of a health issue, and that visiting the doctor for every minuscule worry can be a waste of time and money. On the other hand, this method of avoidance can allow your physical condition to worsen and result in a threatening issue that should have been confronted when you first noticed it.
The question at hand is how do we differentiate what is denial and what is simply overreacting? When I visited the doctor regarding my heart issues, she told me that I should have came in at the earliest sign of symptoms and that my body was obviously trying to tell me something. I had put off the problem and contributed to the high levels of stress that are associated with being a college student. At this point I had expected the worst, considering heart conditions that run in my family and the fact that I had waited so long to address my own. I’m currently awaiting results from my tests, but I still have a slight belief that my heart is completely healthy and I may just be suffering from physical anxiety, conjuring health problems that don’t truly exist. Regardless, I feel that it is very important to pay close attention to our bodies, and if we sense that something is wrong we should seek care rather than hoping it will fix itself. In my opinion it is better to overreact to small symptoms than let them grow into something out of our control.